As United States rockets and bombs continue to slaughter innocent civilians in Sadr City we struggle to let people understand our part in the terrible consequences of the occupation. Joan Siegel, a poet and educator on the board of 121Contact, has created a work that speaks directly to the heart.
Nesreen in Baghdad
by Joan I. Siegel
If I walk and look down at my feet
I will only see my feet walking
on the sidewalk. Then I will know
I am still alive. And the body
of the dead woman in the gutter
is someone else. The stench
I swallow is hers. Not mine.
The wailing is her family’s.
Not mine. The car pulling up
beside me is only a car stalled
in traffic. I do not explode:
my blood raining
on the street with scraps of skin
and brains, my lifetime
of molecules housing all
I have ever known—
my mother and father
sisters and brothers
my house, my hands
the taste of pomegranates
my nephew’s voice
my last thoughts screaming
in widening rings.
Over a thousand innocents died this month in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq. The U.S. bombings and rocket attacks as well as small arms fire accomplished much of the killing and was done in aid of the Iraqi central government's attempt to bring Sadr City under its control.
Although characterized as "Sadr militia" by most of the U.S. press it seems as though there are many relatively independent groups fighting there. Some have undoubtedly broken off from Sadr's official militia, but many are merely independents fighting to erase all trace of the invaders--each with its own reason for joining the battle: religious, political, gang-related, or just the simple frustration of having no sense of a satisfying future.
We are not helping, so let's not be there.